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The Evolution of Response Planning - The TRP Story

Posted on Thu, Jul 14, 2016

Technical Response Planning Corporation (TRP) staff recently sat down with its Founder and President, Steve Bassine, to discuss the company’s origins, its evolution, and the response to the ever changing demands of corporate preparedness and response planning.

After graduating from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering, Bassine began his career as a Project Engineer for Exxon’s South Texas Production Division in Corpus Christi, TX. It was in this first job that Bassine learned the importance of effective communication. “My role was ten percent engineering and 90 percent written and verbal communications.” While college prepared Bassine with a deep understanding of engineering concepts and principles, and provided the foundation to broaden his knowledge of oil and gas production, equipment and processing, regulatory compliance, and onshore and offshore operations, he discovered that fine-tuning his written, verbal, and decision-making skills were needed in order to be an effective project manager and future entrepreneur.

After the oil slump of the late 1980’s halted Bassine’s initial entrepreneurial aspirations, he accepted a job with a consulting firm that specialized in oil spill response planning. His immersive corporate and field experience with Exxon coupled with a practical expertise in response planning prompted Bassine to explore simplified preparedness processes.  “I knew there were better ways of doing things, and I needed the freedom to try them,” said Bassine.

In 1995, Bassine founded TRP in an effort to provide innovative response planning practices that simplified preparedness complexities for companies with large operations. “We were working hard to meet Client expectations, and stretching ourselves to find a better way to deliver response plans.” Two years later, the company pioneered industry’s first "electronic plan”, as well as graphical one-page response plans for fire pre-plans, oil spill tactical plans, and spill prevention plans. Bassine proved that these new techniques could be utilized to streamline complex preparedness and response planning processes, a great improvement to the static, paper-based response planning methods of the past.

Bassine continued to push the envelope of response planning innovation with the development of TRP’s first web-based response plans in 2001. “The availability of the Internet, reliance on and better understanding of computers and software, and the emergence of a tech-savvy workforce accelerated the understanding and acceptance of TRP’s approach.” At the time, web-based response plans were a new and unfamiliar concept. “Many companies were reluctant to be the first to commit,” said Bassine, “But today an overwhelming majority of companies are eager to embrace technology in order to help them solve their problems.”

Since 2001, the rapid acceptance of technology has continued to raise expectations for more robust, yet user-friendly functionality. Bassine made it a priority to align emerging technologies, societal behaviors, and client feedback with groundbreaking response planning platforms. The result was a proprietary response planning technology that eliminated redundant planning efforts while reducing errors, version confusion, and regulatory non-compliance. “We are always looking for better, more efficient ways of doing things, and for more user-friendly functionality. This, coupled with frequent feedback from clients and new prospects helps us keep abreast of new technology.”

TRP_Response_Planning.jpg

But after more than 20 years in the industry, Bassine says many companies are still challenged with preparedness, response planning, and enterprise-wide regulatory compliance issues. “The cyclical nature of the oil and gas industry and the difficulties of managing response plans for large operations are still relevant.” The TRP founder believes that the challenges have continued to increase over the years due to elevated scrutiny from regulatory agencies and the public, heightened profit/loss pressures, and the constant change of company structure, ownership, and staffing.

In a continual effort to simplify company-wide response planning, TRP released its SMARTPLAN™ software in 2015, which enables companies to do more with less resources. Companies utilizing this latest system can now revise content for multiple plans quickly, track revisions, print plans, manage contacts, and so much more. “Our latest technology reduces administrative efforts, eliminates the need to manage mountains of paper-based response plans and hundreds of Microsoft Word files, and provides a platform that facilitates more rapid and cost-effective upgrades. This leaves more time for our Clients to focus on strategic initiatives and provides assurances that our technology will continue to evolve.”

Incorporating technology for the sake of upgrading can often be costly, time consuming, and counterproductive. However, technology that provides innovative solutions to the challenges associated with preparedness, response planning, and regulatory compliance is highly advantageous in the emergency management realm. As TRP continues to fine-tune technologies and adapt systems to the needs of the consumer, they are setting a new standard for “Best Practices” in response planning software. With new response planning challenges continually arising, TRP solutions will continue to evolve to provide solutions to the ever-changing demands of preparedness and response planning.

Preparedness and Emergency Management - TRP Corp

Tags: Emergency Management, Emergency Preparedness, Response Plans

10 Questions Executives Should Ask about Response Plans and Compliance

Posted on Thu, Jul 07, 2016

Corporate leadership teams must prioritize compliance with environmental, health, and safety regulations by financially supporting, authorizing, and directing management to initiate and sustain best practice emergency management measures. The intent of these regulations is to protect employees, communities, and the surrounding environments and reduce impacts in the event of an incident. Through consistent and dedicated support, executives can create a culture that prioritizes regulatory compliance, proactively prepares for threats, risks, and potential disaster, and has the ability to effectively respond if an incident were to occur.

Prioritizing compliance, preparedness, and response not only facilitates a unified culture of safety, but heightens a company’s ability to fulfill their moral responsibility to protect employees, the community, and the environment. Establishing an effective preparedness and response program enhances a company’s ability to:

  • Recover from financial losses
  • Limit or eliminate regulatory fines
  • Limit damages to equipment or products
  • Reduce the potential or duration of business interruption which could impact market share
  • Reduce exposure to civil or criminal liability and lawsuits in the event of an incident.
  • Enhance its image and credibility
  • Reduce insurance premiums

Executives must maintain profitable operations, yet ensure compliance with a complex array of federal, state, and local regulations. The consequences of being out of compliance can be damaging to the company, personnel, community, and professional reputations.

A compliant preparedness and response program includes multiple safety processes and procedures, as well as training, drills, equipment testing, and interoperability coordination. From a budgetary standpoint, emergencies, disasters, and incidents are expensive. Fortunately, compliance and mitigation costs are typically much lower than the expenditures associated with non-compliance fines, litigation, reputational risk, and government mandated shutdown of operations. 

True_cost_of_incidents.jpgTo ensure effective and compliant preparedness and response planning programs are in place, executives should propose the following questions to company managers:

  1. What activity presents the highest risk to our people and facilities, and how can these risks be minimized?
  2. Are there any newly identified threats and risks that require additional resources for mitigation?
  3. Are the individuals accountable for safety, preparedness, and response planning compliance receiving adequate training?
  4. What additional support is needed to improve safety, preparedness, and response planning compliance?
  5. Are company and contractor safety, preparedness, and response planning training programs being verified, and are the outcomes documented efficiently?
  6. When was the last time response plans had been verified and updated?
  7. Is employee input and/or feedback being utilized to improve safety, preparedness, and response planning processes? Do we have any recent examples?
  8. What were the top three high priority results of the last exercise?
  9. What lessons learned can be utilized for improvement to our process and procedures?
  10. Can our compliance verification continue to be handled internally, or do we need to seek external expertise to validate compliance?

Improving preparedness and response capabilities requires coordination across all levels of an organization. Collaborative pre-planning and exercising interoperable responses can minimize regulatory surprises and result in a more effective and timely response. When applicable, executives should encourage collaborative planning and exercises to validate response team positions, align priorities and common interests, and motivate participants to seek compromise for the good of an effective response.

Internal resources or outsourced compliance expertise can often enable a company to leverage regulatory knowledge across the entire company. In order to reduce managerial and administrative efforts required to manage compliance, companies often utilize external experts or consultants to ensure appropriate response planning and compliance measures.

Regulatory Compliance with TRP Corp

Tags: Emergency Management, Regulatory Compliance

Respond Under Pressure: Emergency Management Communications

Posted on Thu, Oct 29, 2015

In order to effectively respond to emergencies, emergency management teams must establish the ability to receive and transmit information, maintain situational awareness, and communicate within a coordinated emergency response framework. Streamlined communication components are essential to ensure effective emergency management. Communicating timely and accurate information to facility managers, critical decision makers, emergency response teams, stakeholders, contractors, and the public is an important aspect of nearly every emergency management function.

PREPAREDNESS:

The execution of a solid communication plan should begin in the planning phase, not on the verge of, during, or in the aftermath of a disaster. Through planning, a communication plan can be fully integrated into the overall disaster or emergency response plan. Companies must:

  • Develop processes to assess incoming/outgoing information to/from multiple sources
  • Organize information systematically
  • Display and relay applicable information
  • Communicate essential information to appropriate parties
  • Document response data in the event it is necessary for further communications

Communications planning may include verification of emergency contacts, training, exercises, activation procedures, response notifications, public relations, and other site-specific needs. These company efforts must be accurate and conclusive to bolster the overall strategic and tactical preparedness objectives.

Management, employees, and responders should be familiar with emergency communication processes, especially notification and activation procedures. Do not assume that responders identify with current company policies or the context of emergencies communications. Exercises play a crucial role in preparedness, providing opportunities for employees, emergency responders and officials to practice, assess and refine their collective communications capabilities and response expectations. These exercises encourage awareness of alarms, muster requirements, implications of various situations, and response expectations.

RESPONSE:

The notification process begins upon discovery of an emergency situation and notification of appropriate personnel. The initial notifications should be communicated by a company approved method (telephone, alarm, radio, etc.), and all known information should be provided at that time, including, but not limited to:

  • Location
  • Type of event (fire, explosion, etc.)
  • Casualties or injured parties
  • Hazardous material involved, if applicable

Companies must establish a strategic framework with checklists and response criteria that will guide the communications decision-making process to allow for an effective response. All pertinent facts and necessary information should be maintained to ensure all emergency management, response personnel, and agencies are quickly notified.

Effective communications is the bridge to stabilizing an emergency situation. Stabilization includes such communication actions as initiating proper notifications, alarms and PA announcements, personnel evacuation, shutdown of systems, obtaining medical assistance, and conferring with appropriate personnel to develop and implement a course of action.

Stabilization also may include media/public relations. In this 24/7 information age, a communications plan should include informational jurisdiction decisions about what to release, by whom, and when. Information MUST be accurate and timely in order to defuse rumors.

RECOVERY:

Recovery begins once the affected area is stabilized, personnel are evacuated and/or accounted for, and the situation is under control or stable. Recovery communications includes damage assessment reporting, interactions with response personnel, removal and disposal of an explosive device or hazardous material, and verifying the safety of an area prior to reentry. The lines of communications need to remain open to return to a “business as usual” level.

MITIGATION AND PREVENTION:

After a declared emergency has been terminated, an oral and written critique of the response should be conducted among the key responders involved.

A post-incident summary of any problems and corrective actions planned or taken to resolve the problem should be included in incident reports. Lines of communication should remain open and action items should be documented and tracked to ensure that corrective actions are completed.

As technology and communication methods evolve, companies must make an effort to incorporate accepted systematic formats, mainstream methodology, and digital response tactics into EHS programs. Implementing best practice communications methods that relate to satellite radios, social media, smartphones, and/or cloud-based technologies will enable companies to carry out a solid communication plan.

Multiple Facility Response Planning Company Preparedness Guide DOWNLOAD

Tags: Emergency Management, Communication Plan

MITIGATION: The Ever-Present Emergency Management Tool

Posted on Thu, Apr 02, 2015

Effective mitigation can often prevent emergencies or minimize their impacts. Mitigation requires a thorough understanding of the potential risks, procedures, regulatory compliance, lessons learned, and operational goals. It is often difficult to quantify and financially justify preparedness mitigation initiatives, however, taking action in the present can often reduce human, environments, and financial consequences in the future.

It is often impractical for companies to spend relentlessly on emergency management mitigation efforts. Operations must remain profitable and margins maintained for corporate viability. Despite that a disaster can strike at any time, potential human, environmental, and financial impacts are often difficult to predict. For optimal financial benefit, mitigation efforts should meet certain key operational and response objectives. Ideally, mitigation efforts should eliminate or lessen the strategic cost of an incident, and reduce the tactical effort of regulatory compliance. Mitigation efforts should, at a minimum:

  • Reduce the likelihood of incidents
  • Improve the ability to respond to incidents
  • Improve the casualty and harm conditions through faster rescues and accident avoidance
  • Strengthen infrastructure against failure
  • Improve corporate reputation through intent and safety investment
  • Reduce projected downtime
  • Improve asset utilization
  • Solidify supply chain availability

Disaster preparedness mitigation measures should also be integrated into corporate and site-specific response planning and corporate preparedness initiatives.  Incorporating upgraded communication methods, technologies, response procedures, and lessons learned can improve the overall functionality of response plans. Response planning mitigation measures may include, but are not limited to:

  • Automating response planning through tracking, updating, and management
  • Facilitating the ability to update plans across locations, sites, rigs, geographies through updated technology
  • Automating regulatory compliance components and response planning activities
  • Reducing the compliance and safety resource consumption
  • Enabling HSE departments, emergency managers, and compliance specialists to spend less time on administrative duties, maintaining plans, reviewing compliance, and reporting
  • Automating governance and controls
  • Optimizing and coordinating drills, testing, and actual emergency responses

Identifying and prioritizing mitigation efforts can be challenging. Below are a series of discussion provoking questions that can assist in mitigation assessments. Although not industry specific, these points may identify which areas of preparedness should be mitigated in order to ensure best emergency management practices are in place (NOTE: These suggested discussion points do not address all mandated planning requirements. Please refer to your operations-specific requirements to ensure regulatory compliance.)

Risk Assessment

  • What are the current high-risk activities at the location?
  • Can high-risk tasks or conditions be mitigated? (The higher the probability and severity of risk, the higher the emphasis should be on corrective actions)
  • Have sensitive areas been identified and potential consequences been assessed?
  • Did risk assessment utilize realistic scenarios to define spill and release volumes and locations?
  • Are employees made aware of hazards associated with specific workplace process, materials, or location(s)?

Compliance

  • What agencies and specific regulations apply to my location(s)?
  • If applicable, have safety data sheets (SDSs) been updated per operations and properties included in the planning process?
  • Have inspections taken place or regulatory audits been performed? If so, have non-compliant issues been mitigated?
  • When will an internal compliance audit(s) be conducted and how will findings be prioritized for mitigation?
  • Is personnel training up-to-date and compliant with site-specific requirements?

Response Elements

  • Are clear procedures in place to notify, assess, and initiate a response?
  • Are individual responders and their contact information verified for accuracy?
  • Can approved stakeholders easily access response plans?
  • Have response times and limitations been identified?
  • Do response elements address necessary updates, such as site construction, personnel changes, and supply chain changes?
  • Have internal and external communication methods been identified in the plan, and are they accurate?
  • Are communications backup systems available and described in the plan?
  • Are staff roles and responsibilities current, specific, and communicated?
  • Have “best practice” strategies and response procedures been identified and implemented?
  • Are processes and procedures identified in the plan to assess and monitor size, shape, type, location, and movement of a spill or release?
  • If applicable, have tactical response details been included and verified for incidents that expand beyond the confines of the facility?
  • If applicable, do spill trajectory estimates and maps mimic current local observations, potential weather scenarios, and historical tendencies?
  • Have sensitive areas been identified and prioritized for protection?
  • Do plans include specific criteria for provisional tiered responses?
  • Are waste management and demobilization processes accurate and communicated?

Documentation

  • Have processes been established for updating planning information?
  • Have updated plot plans and area mapping been integrated with accurate GIS data?
  • Are contracts, memorandums of understanding (MOUs), and other appropriate agreements and documentation in place?
  • Has exercise feedback/lessons learned been incorporated into plan revisions?
  • Are training and exercise records, and applicable regulatory required documentation up-to-date and accessible?
  • Are necessary Incident Command (ICS) forms and company paperwork readily available for response documentation?

Preparedness and Emergency Management - TRP Corp

Tags: Emergency Management, Emergency Management Program, Mitigation

2015 Emergency Management Conferences to Consider

Posted on Thu, Feb 05, 2015

Since the 1990s, incidents, disasters, education, and technology have continued to alter emergency management at an increasing rate. Professionals who may have begun their careers in one of the three sub-disciplines of environment, health or safety (EHS), have been required to broaden their expertise beyond singular objectives and implement new systems, processes, training, and/or equipment to drive improvements across all operations.

Today, these professional are continually challenged to improve processes based on lessons learned, experiences, and industry advancements while balancing the profit/loss scale with sustainability. Because of these challenges, the opportunity for ongoing communication, collaboration, and education is a valuable tool.

These informative conferences can aid in fostering a culture of safety and preparedness. While many are industry specific, below is a list of 2015 conferences that can inspire EHS professionals and enhance their company programs. (The list reflects statements from the conference presenters and should not be considered a TRP Corp endorsement. Cost identified is the general registration fee for full conference access. Early registration discounts and other pricing may be available).

International Disaster Conference and Expo: February 10-12, 2015 (New Orleans, LA) -  This conference unites public and private sector professionals from around the world for discussions regarding policy, lessons learned, best practices, and forward thinking, resulting in the mitigation of loss of life and property when catastrophic events occur. $450 (private sector), $150 (public sector)

Society of Petroleum Engineers E&P Health, Safety, Security, and Environmental Conference-America: March 16-18, 2015 (Denver, CO) - Since 1993, this conference has provided a setting for HSE professionals and experts to exchange knowledge, learn, and network. The event brings together industry, government, and academia to share best practices and innovative solutions.  Cost varies from $75 to $925

Disaster Recovery Journal Spring World: March 22-25, 2015 (Orlando, FL) - Industry leaders gather to explore topics that address some of today’s most challenging and pressing business continuity and disaster response issues. Break-out sessions are scheduled to address strategic, managerial, technical, information, advanced, and emergency response. $1295

Preparedness, Emergency Response and Recovery Consortium and Exposition: March 24-26, 2015 (Orlando, FL) - This focus of this conference is placed on coordination and collaboration between the various organizations and stakeholders, contributing to disaster preparedness, healthcare response, rescue and evacuation, sheltering in place, and recovery operations. The setting brings together healthcare, medical, public health, and volunteer emergency management personnel involved in disaster recovery and response efforts. Individuals representing governmental, public, and private sectors come together to discuss shared practices in preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery. $500

IEEE Symposium on Technologies for Homeland Security: April 14-16, 2015 (Waltham, MA) - Brings together innovators from leading academic, industry, business, Homeland Security Centers of Excellence, and government programs to provide a forum to discuss ideas, concepts, and experimental results. Showcases emerging technologies in cyber-security; attack and disaster preparation, recovery, and response; land and maritime border security; and biometrics and forensics. $265-$535

Partners in Emergency Preparedness Conference: April 14-16, 2015 (Tacoma, WA) -  The Partners in Emergency Preparedness Conference (a non-profit 501(c)3 charitable organization) is the largest and most successful regional emergency preparedness conference in the Pacific Northwest. Partners in Emergency Preparedness annually hosts nearly 700 people representing business, schools, government, the nonprofit sector, emergency management professionals, and volunteer organizations. $425

Continuity Insights Management Conference:  April 20-22, 2015 (Scottsdale, AZ) - This conference provides the opportunity for strategic business continuity discussions, where professionals can learn from and network with those responsible for the integrity, availability, resilience, and security of their organizations. The conference includes a review of the latest technologies and practices, and the ability to earn additional certification with post-conference workshops. $1295-$1495

World Conference on Disaster Management: June 8-11, (Toronto, ON Canada) - Celebrating its 25th anniversary, this conference delivers a global perspective on current and emerging issues. Presentations cover practice, research, and innovation in emergency management, business continuity and crisis communications. $350

Volunteer Protection Programs Participants’ Association: (VPPPA): August 24-27, 2015 (Grapevine, TX) - Encourages and provides opportunities for EHS professionals to network, learn, and advance as leaders in occupational safety and health issues. Participants range from safety and health managers, employee safety team members, industrial hygienists, union representatives, consultants, environmental health specialists, and human resource managers Government agency representatives from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Department of Energy (DOE) are also available for networking and education. (Cost not release by publication date.)

IAEM-USA 60th Annual Conference & EMEX 2012: November 13-18, 2015 (Las Vegas, NV) - Partnering conference of the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) and Emergency Management and Homeland Security (EMEX) that provides a forum for current trends and topics, information about the latest tools and technology, and advances IAEM-USA committee work. Sessions encourage stakeholders at all levels of government, the private sector, public health, and related professions to exchange ideas on collaborating to protect lives and property from disaster.  More than 2,500 participants are expected to attend this 63rd conference. (Cost not release by publication date.)

Clean Gulf: November 10-12, 2015 (New Orleans, LA) - Opportunity for companies, regulatory agencies, and associations involved in exploration, production, shipping, transportation or storage of petroleum, petrochemicals or hazardous materials to view the latest products, services and technologies, as well as hear about the latest trends and developments in the oil spill response industry. This event is co-located with the Deepwater Prevention & Response Conference. (Cost not released by publication date.)

For a free response planning guide, click the image below:

Preparedness and Emergency Management - TRP Corp

Tags: Choosing a Consultant, Conference, Emergency Management, Training and Exercises, Disaster Response

Make 2015 "The Year of Response Planning and Preparedness"!

Posted on Thu, Jan 08, 2015

While it is more cost efficient and less complicated to learn from other's response experiences and emergency management mistakes, every emergency scenario, exercise, or training endeavor can be used to improve the outcome of the next response. As we begin 2015, facility and emergency managers should draw from personal experiences, staff knowledge, and industry-wide lessons learned to improve their preparedness and response program.

The following discussion points, while not all-inclusive, can be used to spur emergency management program improvements and response planning reformations for 2015:

Compliance

  • What agencies and new or impending regulations apply to my location(s)?
  • Have budgets been allocated for necessary compliance mitigation resolutions?
  • If applicable, have Globally Harmonized System (GHS) Safety Data Sheets (SDS) been updated and have their properties been included in the planning process?
  • Has an inspection taken place, and if so, have non-compliant issues been mitigated?
  • Will an internal compliance audit(s) be conducted?
  • Is personnel training up-to-date and compliant with site-specific requirements?
  • Are required exercises scheduled?

Risk Assessment

  • What are the new high-risk, medium-risk, and low risk-activities or circumstances, and are how will these scenarios relate to planning?
  • Can high-risk tasks or conditions be mitigated with the current budget? (The higher the probability and severity of risk, the higher the emphasis should be on corrective actions)
  • Are there additional environmentally sensitive areas that need to be addressed in the response plan?
  • Does the risk assessment utilize realistic scenarios to define potential spill volumes and downstream locations?
  • How will employees be made aware of hazards associated with specific workplace process, materials, or location(s)?

Supply Chain

  • When will response equipment needs be re-evaluated and defined?
  • Are there new technologies or equipment that will better suit your program's equipment needs?
  • Will current vendors have predefined supplies or equipment available in the event of an operational disruption or emergency scenario, or do new suppliers need to be evaluated?
  • Are processes in place to monitor internal and external supply chains and their response time?
  • Is additional or alternate external spill response support necessary and available?
  • How would a spill affect both internal and external resources?
  • Are back up suppliers identified, and when will their availability be confirmed?

Training

  • Are current personnel appropriately trained for their allocated roles?
  • Are new employees being trained effectively?
  • Do new training measures need to be implemented?
  • Will training comprehension be tested with realistic exercise scenarios?
  • Is the response management team structure clear and able to be communicated?
  • Will external responders included in plan preparations and exercises receive a copy of the current plan?
  • Have post exercise review mitigation measures been applied to current training and preparedness measures? If not, when will these tasks be completed?
  • Should training include any new resource tracking documentation methods, software, or amended response communication actions?

Response Elements

  • If an incident were to occur today, would your response plan minimize impacts and be a guide for an effective and coordinated response effort?
  • Is a process established for individual responders to verify their contact information to allow for timely responses? If not, can verification process improvements be made to ensure accuracy?
  • Are clear initial response action procedures in place to notify, assess, and initiate a response?
  • Can approved stakeholders easily access response plans? Have you researched innovative technology that allows for improved plan access?
  • Have response times and limitations been confirmed? Have they changed from the previous plan revision?
  • Does the current response plan address necessary updates, such as site construction, personnel changes, and supply chain changes?
  • Have internal and external communication methods been upgraded? If so, have these changes been addressed in the plan.
  • Are new or additional communications backup systems available and described in the plan?
  • Are there new staff roles, personnel, or modified internal or external responsibilities that need to be specified in the plan, and communicated to responders?
  • Are there alternate strategies and response procedures that need to be included in the plan?
  • Are updated processes and procedures identified in the plans to assess and monitor size, shape, type, location, and movement of a spill or release?
  • If applicable, have tactical response details been included in the planning process for incidents that expand beyond the confines of the facility? Are there any changes that need to be incorporated?
  • Do trajectory maps and estimates mimic local observations and historical tendencies?
  • Are sensitive sites prioritized for protection?
  • Do plans include specific criteria for provisional tiered responses?
  • Are waste management and demobilization processes communicated?

Documentation

  • Are sufficient processes established for updating planning information prior to an emergency and during a response?
  • Have plot plans and area mapping been integrated with the latest GIS data and knowledge?
  • Are appropriate agreement documentation, such as contracts and memorandums of understanding (MOUs), updated and in place? Are there new MOUs or contracts that need to be established or finalized?
  • Do stakeholders have a copy of your most up-to-date plans?
  • Are training and exercise records, and applicable regulatory required documentation up-to-date and accessible to auditors?
  • Are necessary Incident Command (ICS) and company-specific forms readily available for documentation?

By analyzing the past, monitoring the present, and evaluating the “potentials” of 2015, companies can reinforce their commitment to emergency management while establishing a culture of preparedness. Executing plan enhancements and reinforcing preparedness across an enterprise strengthens a company’s resolve, ultimately creating a more resilient organization.

 

Ensure preparedness and compliance! Download this free guide by clicking the image below:

Preparedness and Emergency Management - TRP Corp

Tags: Emergency Management, Response Plans, Oil Spill, Event Preparedness

TRP's Top 10 Preparedness Blogs of 2014

Posted on Tue, Dec 30, 2014

As TRP Corp. gets ready to begin its 20th anniversary year, we would like to share our subscribers’’ “Top Ten” blogs from 2014.  While the topics vary, the goal of each blog is to provide a resourceful, informative article that guides professionals in developing effective emergency, crisis, and business continuity plans. We hope emergency managers, first responders, and safety professionals can utilize these blogs to advance emergency management, preparedness initiatives, and business continuity efforts in 2015.

Our “Top Ten” 2014 blog articles Include:

10. Preparedness, Planning, and Pandemic Plans 

Published prior to the onset of the well-publicized Ebola outbreak, this blog highlights the evidence for the need of pandemic planning and the pandemic response plan.

9. The Business Impact Analysis: A Step Towards Business Continuity 

While the size and complexity of essential business elements required for sustainability varies among industries, companies, and specific facilities, the ability to quantify and prioritize critical work flow components is a key business continuity element. This blog highlights examples of which critical business functions to analyze, and the specific components of the Business Impact Analysis.

8. Incident Response Drills and Tabletop Exercises 

Every drill or exercise presents the opportunity to improve site-specific response plans, rendering the potential for a more effective response. This blog examines the three most popular types of response exercises and details tabletop exercise planning considerations that can aid in improving preparedness levels.

7. Consultants Combat Emergency Management Challenges: Oil and Gas Industry 

Despite safety statistics, the oil and gas industry’s public safety perception has been tested by highly publicized tragic incidents, increasing the pressures on emergency managers. This blog highlights some of the challenges felt by oil and gas emergency managers, and breaks down the strategic and tactical cost-benefits of hiring specialized, reputable consultants.

6. 7 Key Points for Industrial Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery 

Companies often lack adequate recovery planning and recuperative procedures to restore critical information, essential processes, and normal business operations within an acceptable recovery time frame. This popular blog identifies seven elements that can accelerate the business continuity recovery process.

 5. Ten Reasons for Companies to Invest in Incident Management Programs 

Implementing a technologically advanced, enterprise-wide incident management system offers opportunities to increase the effectiveness of preparedness efforts with “real-time” response advantages. This blog highlights ten “best practice” reasons why companies should prioritize these programs, and advance preparedness initiatives and associated response programs.

4. Corporate Emergency Preparedness and Risk Management 

Companies that prioritize risk management and integrated preparedness goals are better prepared to educate employees on potential incidents, and their role in prevention, mitigation, response, and recovery. This popular blog highlights four “best practice” processes and prevention measures that should be included in your risk management program.

 

With carefully planned tabletop exercises, mitigation opportunities and valuable response knowledge can be revealed. Realistic exercise scenarios can often highlight potential deficiencies in response plans, individual comprehension of response roles and responsibilities, and partnership coordination efforts. This blog highlights the various types of tabletop scenarios that can be utilized to strengthen preparedness efforts and bolster your emergency management or HSE program.

2. A Lesson in Emergency Preparedness: Learn from Past Incidents 

Emergency managers should not camouflage preparedness or response failures. On the contrary, they should draw from scenario experiences and response lapses to improve their emergency management program. This blog highlights the importance of the evolution process within response planning and emergency management, and offers a series of questions that may aid in identifying plan deficiencies and mitigation opportunities.

1. Fire Pre Plan Templates: How to Make Them Work for You! 

An enterprise-wide fire pre plan template can serve as an outline of required fire response related information, yet they must be populated with site-specific details. TRP’s top blog of 2014 highlights specific elements that should be included in a fire pre plan, despite the response situation or circumstance. The blog also provides insightful fire pre plan “helpful hints” from various first responders and fire departments.

For more information regarding web-based, database driven planning systems, contact TRP at (281) 955-9600, or click the image below to set up a personalized demonstration.

Request A Free Demo

 

 

Tags: Emergency Management, Emergency Management Program

How to Maximize Corporate Emergency Preparedness for the Unpredictable

Posted on Thu, Oct 02, 2014

Planning for the unpredictable is part of emergency preparedness. Whether preparedness is mandated by corporate policy or regulatory agencies, risk management in cooperation with widely accessible emergency response plans can maximize efficiency and minimize the impacts on employees, the environment, and infrastructure. However, efforts to prepare for, manage, or mitigate risks are often unexecuted, shelved by constrained resources, profit margins, politics, or alternative goals.

In an effort to maximize preparedness and minimize inherent risks, corporate emergency management should provide:

  • A system for assessing and prioritizing incidents
  • Streamlined and standardized response methods
  • Communication and notification procedures
  • Roles and responsibilities for corporate and incident level response teams
  • Optimized training, drills and exercises
  • A demonstrated commitment to safety

By prioritizing an emergency management program, a company demonstrates the foresight to address emergency situations and associated challenges, and proactively affirms its efforts to ensure the safety of employees, the environment, and the surrounding communities. However, in order to maximize safety and plan for inherent emergency situations, site-specific threats and risks must be identified, assessed, mitigated, and planned for.

To manage workplace risks, each facility should be analyzed for potential hazards. These threats to operational status quo may be present in the form of unsafe acts and/or unsafe conditions. Once risks are recognized and evaluated, they should be eliminated if possible, or controlled through procedural planning. A risk management program should include, but not be limited to the following processes and prevention program.

RISK RECOGNITION:

  • Risk recognition can occur through inspections, audits, and job hazard analysis
  • All levels of management should take interest in their company’s risk management program
  • Each manager should establish realistic goals for risk reduction and prevention within their area of responsibility
  • Consult with local or online sources that have pre-identified risks based on site operations and location.

RISK EVALUATION:

  • Evaluate accident probability for each process, procedure, and handled material and resulting level of potential severity if an accident were to occur
  • Evaluation should take into account the time, place, and conditions in which threats or hazards might occur
  • The probability and severity of a risk should determine the priority level for correcting the hazard. The higher the probability and severity of risk, the higher the emphasis should be on corrective action

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RISK ELIMINATION or RISK CONTROL

  • Targeted effort should be made to isolate and eliminate the root cause
  • Realized mitigation opportunities may reduce the amount of response resources required in the event of an incident
  • If root cause cannot be eliminated, changes in process and procedure should be made in order to reduce risk:
    • Implement risk reducing engineering controls, when applicable
    • Implement proactive administrative controls or work place practices
    • Establish process to identify inoperable or malfunctioning equipment and machinery through systematic inspections
    • Establish processes to minimize the effects of naturally occurring hazards
    • Ensure control does not hinder regulatory compliance

RISK COMMUNICATION:

  • Apply the results of analysis through planning and exercises. Employees should be made aware of hazards associated with any workplace process, materials, or location.
  • Accident prevention signs should be posted to remind occupants of the presence of hazards
  • Establish and communicate emergency response plans to employees and appropriate emergency response teams. This includes up to date contact information and notification procedures
  • Calculate, specify, and communicate resource requirements and operational capacities for each targeted scenario to internal and external responders
  • Counteract onsite response deficiencies for each scenario by implementing coordinated interoperability communication

Understanding your company’s risks, from the facility to the corporate level, is essential to preparedness and sustainability. Companies that prioritize risk management and integrate preparedness goals are better prepared to educate employees on potential incidents, and their role in protection, prevention, mitigation, response, and recovery.

Auditing your current program is crucial. Click here, or the image below, to download a free Audit Preparedness Guide:

Regulatory Compliance with TRP Corp

Tags: BCM Standards, Emergency Management, Emergency Preparedness, Business Risk, Emergency Management Program, Hazard Identification

Ten Reasons for Companies to Invest in Incident Management Programs

Posted on Thu, Sep 25, 2014

Incident Management programs shouldn’t be created for IF an incident happens...but for WHEN an incident happens.

Regulatory compliance mandates, a history of incidents, or an awareness of potential crises typically trigger companies to fund preparedness initiatives. At a minimum, preparedness endeavors and response capabilities should be audited, tested, and updated on an annual basis. Budgeting efforts should be aligned with initiatives in an effort to improve incident management and preparedness capabilities.  Below are ten “best practice” reasons why companies should prioritize funding to advance preparedness initiatives and associated response programs:

#10. Streamline and standardize improved response methods:  A consistent company-wide emergency response management system can deliver site-specific details and management endorsed response processes.  Standardization allows employees and responders to conceptualize their roles and responsibilities across an enterprise, creating a common understanding of intended actions. Streamlining response methods can assist responders in assessing, prioritizing, and responding to incidents.

#9. Optimize drills and training: Employee training, emergency response drills, and applicable exercises identify deficiencies in emergency response planning programs. Incorporating appropriate response training and testing response plans with detailed scenarios will improve response capabilities and coordination, as well as reduce response times.

#8 Improve regulatory compliance: Costly non-compliance fines result from the lack of implemented, thorough, and compliant programs. By systematically aligning response plans and their components with corresponding regulations, companies can identify and amend plan deficiencies that may result in fines and potential government mandated shutdowns.

#7. Simplify and automate response plans: Maintaining response plan can be an administratively taxing endeavor. Continual administrative duties associated with personnel contact information, assignments, training records, exercises, and continual plan updates may be inadequate to sustain an optimal program. Maximizing efficiency through advancements in technology can minimize time associated with maintaining incident response plans.

#6. Improve asset utilization: Companies must utilize employees, responders, equipment, and budgets effectively in order to minimize the effects of a crisis or disaster. Realigning current tangible assets (equipment and/or personnel), mitigating current inefficiencies, and/or budgeting for additional response training or improved equipment will improve the overall effectiveness of an emergency management program.

#5. Demonstrate a commitment to safety:  Companies should proactively affirm the safety of employees and surrounding communities, and protection of the environment, by establishing proven countermeasures to potential threats and associated risks. Prioritizing emergency preparedness initiatives demonstrates a company’s commitment.

#4. Improve conditions:  Harmful conditions pose a risk to occupants, the environment, infrastructures, and/or the surrounding communities. By eliminating or mitigating potentially adverse conditions, unsafe activities, or ineffective responses, companies can reduce the potential for and effect of emergency situations. The risk assessment process can be used to identify potential threats or harmful conditions that can lead to incidents.

#3. Reduce Incidents:  By identifying potential threats and risks, mitigation and preventative measures can be taken to curtail the likelihood of an incident from occurring or reduce its impacts. Mitigation measures may include a variety of tactics including, but not limited to training for employees, updating safety processes and procedures, or securing or purchasing updated equipment.

#2. Reduce downtime:  Operational downtime and production loss reduces revenues. By optimizing and implementing the most effective and functional incident management program possible, incidents can be promptly managed and rapidly demobilized, thereby reducing response-related costs and downtime.  The repercussions from an incident can include detrimental relationships with customers, the surrounding community, and stakeholders.

#1. Cost savings:  Proactive compliance efforts, safety initiatives, training and exercises, and response and resiliency planning are typically less expensive than regulatory fines, sustained response efforts, and overall repercussions resulting from an incident.

Implementing a technologically advanced enterprise-wide emergency management system offers opportunities to increase the effectiveness of planning and preparedness efforts. Gathering lessons learned from various site managers, performing site regulatory gap analyses, and implementing new proven concepts will ensure the best possible functionality and processes within a program.

For a free Response Procedures Flowchart, click here or the image below:

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Tags: Emergency Management, Emergency Preparedness, Response Plans, Incident Management, Training and Exercises, Emergency Management Program

Oil Spill Response Planning, Drones, and Spill Surveillance

Posted on Thu, Sep 04, 2014

Oil spill response planning and preparedness are necessary to satisfy applicable regulatory requirements, protect the environment, and ensure safety for responders and employees. Yet, all plans related to oil spills have one common thread: minimize the impacts!

Effective oil spill response plans can minimize the impacts associated with an oil spill. The objectives of these plans, regardless of type of facility, are to:

  • Allow response personnel to prepare for and safely respond to spills
  • Ensure an effective and efficient response that takes geographical challenges into account
  • Outline spill response procedures and techniques at specific locations
  • Improve regulatory compliance efforts
  • Identify potential equipment, manpower, and other resources necessary to implement a spill response

History has proven that a single oil spill can have significant impacts to the environment and the responsible party. Off-site spill responses and containment efforts present unique challenges compared with spills occurring within the confines of the facility or secondary containment. These migrating spills require a higher level of coordination, communication, and surveillance in an effort to minimize downstream impacts.

It is critical to identify and provide detailed information regarding area socio-economic and natural resources and vulnerabilities that may be damaged if a spill were to occur. This information should guide response personnel to make reasonable, well-informed response actions to protect public health and the environment. Detailed information of downstream vulnerabilities and applicable response procedures should be included in an oil spill or tactical response plan.

Spill surveillance should begin as soon as possible following the discovery of a release to determine the appropriate response tactics. One future option for surveillance is the use of commercial unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or more commonly known as drones. The push for commercial use of drones is gaining momentum as affordable devices are increasing in popularity.  Currently, commercial use of drones are limited by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorization and require the operator to have certified aircraft and pilots, as well as FAA operating approval.

The FAA is responsible for establishing a plan for “safe integration” of UAS by September 30, 2015. However, some reports have indicated that the integration plan deadline will be delayed due to privacy debates and various industry specific regulations. “The FAA is still developing regulations, policies, and standards that will cover a wide variety of UAS users, and expects to publish a proposed rule for small UAS (under 55 pounds) later this year.”

A few companies have been granted the FAA’s Certificate of Waiver or Authorization for UAS allowing for the limited use of commercial drones. In July 2014, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) joined the likes of ConocoPhillips and BP with limited permission to use drones.

Until regulations, best practice protocols, and authorizations are established for the commercial use of drones, standardize surveillance guidelines and best practices can continue to enable response personnel to assess spill size, movement, and potential impact locations.  These guidelines should be outlined in an oil spill response plan.

Below are guidelines that are routinely included in spill surveillance procedures:

  • Dispatch observers to crossings downstream or down gradient to determine the spill’s maximum reach potential.
  • During surveillance, travel beyond known impacted areas to check for additional oil spill sites.
  • Clearly describe the locations where oil is observed and the areas where no oil has been seen.
  • Educate personnel that clouds, shadows, sediment, floating organic matter, submerged sandbanks, or wind-induced patterns on the water may resemble an oil slick if viewed from a distance.
  • Use surface vessels to confirm the presence of any suspected oil slicks (if safe to do so); consider directing the vessels and photographing the vessels from the air, the latter to show their position and size relative to the slick. It may be difficult to adequately observe oil on the water surface from a boat, dock, or shoreline.
  • Spill surveillance is best accomplished through the use of helicopters or small planes; helicopters are preferred due to their superior visibility and maneuverability.
  • If fixed-wing planes are to be used, high-wing types provide better visibility than low-wing types.
  • All observations should be documented in writing and with photographs and/or videotapes; include the name and phone number of the person making the observations.
  • Describe the approximate dimensions of the oil slick based on available reference points (i.e. vessel, shoreline features, facilities); use the aircraft or vessel to traverse the length and width of the slick while timing each pass; calculate the approximate size and area of the slick by multiplying speed and time.
  • Record aerial observations on detailed maps, such as topographic maps.
  • In the event of reduced visibility, such as dense fog or cloud cover, boats may have to be used to patrol the area and document the location and movements of the spill; however, this method may not be safe if the spill involves a highly flammable product.
  • Surveillance is also required during spill response operations to gauge the effectiveness of response operations; to assist in locating skimmers; and assess the spill's size, movement, and impact.
For a free white paper on Conducting Effective Exercises, click here, or on the image below.
TRP Corp Emergency Response Planning Exercises

Tags: Tactical Response Planning, Crisis Mapping, Emergency Management, Crisis Management, Oil Spill